Homemade Butter

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Category : About Food Sources, Condiments, Make It Yourself, Recipes, Vegetarian

Photo of Homemade ButterLast week I didn’t see  locally produced butter in the dairy cooler at the Community Food Co-op, which usually stocks some. Since I don’t know of any locally produced cooking oils, I’m using butter instead, and was concerned when I couldn’t find any.

I remembered a friend had told me that butter could be made from whipping cream pretty easily, but I didn’t remember the details. I saw some Twin Brook Creamery cream, so purchased a pint. When I got home, I called the Creamery to see if they made commercial butter,  or if they could tell me how to make it from their whipping cream.

Debbie returned my call and said they didn’t make butter for sale to the public, but that they regularly made butter for their own use from their cream. She said the recipe below is how her mother-in-law does it. I think you’ll be astonished at how simple and quick it is–and it’s fun!

  • Prep Time:
    5 min
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready In:
    5 min
Servings: approx. 1-1/2 cups
  • 2 cups whipping cream (Twin Brook Creamery, Lynden)
  • 1-1/2 cups cold water


Debbie described two methods for making butter:

Blender Method:

Let the whipping cream come to room temperature, then put it in a blender.  Add the water, which should be very cold. Blend at a slow speed and gradually increase to medium speed. The butter will be separated in about two minutes total. Butter will collect at the top. Strain the contents of the blender through cheesecloth. The remaining liquid is diluted buttermilk and can be used for cooking or can be discarded. Rinse the butter in cold water until the water runs clear.

Beater Method:

Put the whipping cream in a large bowl. No water is needed for this method. Beat cream with an electric or hand beater until butter begins to separate. You can gradually increase to a medium speed until the two minutes are up. Strain through cheesecloth. The remaining liquid will be undiluted buttermilk, but use it like milk. It is not as acidic as commercial buttermilk because the cream was not soured first. Rinse the butter in cold water until the water runs clear.

Serving Suggestions:

Once the butter is made, people often press it into molds with an attractive pattern, or blocks which can be cut into sticks once the butter is fully chilled in the refrigerator.

The resulting butter is salt free. My daughter likes this, because she prefers to add salt to dishes herself without extra salt in the ingredients. It’s good for me, too, since my blood pressure sometimes runs a little high. However, if you want salted butter, blend or beat in 1/4 tsp. salt per 4 oz. of butter after the butter and buttermilk have separated but before draining and rinsing. If you like, you can also add fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or parsley.

Unsalted butter can spoil more easily than salted (salt is a preservative). Most sources I found recommend washing the butter in cold water after straining it to keep it from going rancid too quickly. It can also be frozen, or stored in a French butter crock.

Food Sources:

Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

Additional Resources:

How to Make Butter – An even simpler, though more strenuous, way to make butter.
Making Butter – Gives a lot of details and photos about the process.

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Comments (3)

Ghee, made by clarifying the butter makes excellent cooking oil, without the burning.

Thanks, Victoria, great idea! I haven’t made ghee in years, so looked up how to do it. Here’s what I found at O Chef:

“It is very easy to make clarified butter. Melt the butter slowly. Let it sit for a bit to separate. Skim off the foam that rises to the top, and gently pour the [clarified] butter off of the milk solids, which have settled to the bottom. A stick (8 tablespoons) of butter will produce about 6 tablespoons of clarified butter.”

Because it is very stable lard is another excellent fat for cooking, especially high heat. Farmer Ben offers lard for sale in manageable packages (call to be sure they have it). You can put it in a crock pot to render; it goes better if it has been ground or cut in small pieces. Once melted strain through a cheese cloth into jars and store in the refrigerator. The little bits that don’t melt, called chittlins, can be fried crisp, like bacon and added to eggs, vegetables or anything you want pork flavored.

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